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Firebase

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Firebase vs PubNub: What are the differences?

Firebase: The Realtime App Platform. Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds; PubNub: Build real-time apps quickly and scale them globally. PubNub makes it easy for you to add real-time capabilities to your apps, without worrying about the infrastructure. Build apps that allow your users to engage in real-time across mobile, browser, desktop and server.

Firebase and PubNub can be categorized as "Realtime Backend / API" tools.

Some of the features offered by Firebase are:

  • Add the Firebase library to your app and get access to a shared data structure. Any changes made to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.
  • Firebase apps can be written entirely with client-side code, update in real-time out-of-the-box, interoperate well with existing services, scale automatically, and provide strong data security.
  • Data Accessibility- Data is stored as JSON in Firebase. Every piece of data has its own URL which can be used in Firebase's client libraries and as a REST endpoint. These URLs can also be entered into a browser to view the data and watch it update in real-time.

On the other hand, PubNub provides the following key features:

  • PubNub SDKs support over 50 of the most popular environments, including: iOS, Android, JavaScript, .NET, Java, Ruby, Python, PHP and many more.
  • Data Push - Establish and maintain persistent socket connections to any device (mobile, browser, desktop and server) and push data to global audiences in less than ¼ of a second
  • Presence - Automatically detect when users enter or leave your app and whether machines are online

"Realtime backend made easy" is the top reason why over 318 developers like Firebase, while over 31 developers mention "Massively scalable & easy to use" as the leading cause for choosing PubNub.

Instacart, 9GAG, and Twitch are some of the popular companies that use Firebase, whereas PubNub is used by OpenGov, Hinge, and Blossom. Firebase has a broader approval, being mentioned in 859 company stacks & 992 developers stacks; compared to PubNub, which is listed in 43 company stacks and 12 developer stacks.

Advice on Firebase and PubNub
Needs advice
on
PusherPusherPubNubPubNub
and
AblyAbly

I am building an IoT application that will utilize connected air quality sensors to provide real-time indoor air quality in offices. I want to be able to share this data with a few different databases, etc.

Wondering if anyone has any advice on which real-time streaming API would be best for this sort of application, or even how I should think about it?

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Replies (2)
Ben Gamble
Recommends
AblyAbly

For IoT, we support MQTT along with websockets and SSE. The pattern you're suggesting that involves harvesting data from devices and soaking into a database is easy to achieve with one of the Ably integrations (Serverless functions/webhook) . Here are some tutorials to do things like this: https://ably.com/tutorials/reactor-event-zapier#step2-mqtt-ably

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Philip Rossen
Recommends
PusherPusher
at

We use Pusher at www.justlearn.com. It works fine. When you reach more users, Pusher gets expensive. We use Pusher for live chat between users. Their software is easy to use. We have had issues with auth on Pusher.

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Needs advice
on
Socket.IOSocket.IOFirebaseFirebase
and
ApolloApollo

We are starting to work on a web-based platform aiming to connect artists (clients) and professional freelancers (service providers). In-app, timeline-based, real-time communication between users (& storing it), file transfers, and push notifications are essential core features. We are considering using Node.js, ExpressJS, React, MongoDB stack with Socket.IO & Apollo, or maybe using Real-Time Database and functionalities of Firebase.

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Replies (3)
Timothy Malstead
Junior Full Stack Developer at Freelance · | 7 upvotes · 330K views
Recommends
FirebaseFirebase

I would recommend looking hard into Firebase for this project, especially if you do not have dedicated full-stack or backend members on your team.

The real time database, as you mentioned, is a great option, but I would also look into Firestore. Similar to RTDB, it adds more functions and some cool methods as well. Also, another great thing about Firebase is you have easy access to storage and dead simple auth as well.

Node.js Express MongoDB Socket.IO and Apollo are great technologies as well, and may be the better option if you do not wish to cede as much control to third parties in your application.

Overall, I say if you wish to focus more time developing your React application instead of other parts of your stack, Firebase is a great way to do that.

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Recommends
AblyAbly

Hello Noam 👋,

I suggest taking a look at Ably, it has all the realtime features you need and the platform is designed to guarantee critical functionality at scale.

Here is an in depth comparison between Ably and Firebase

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Recommends
8base8base

Hey Noam,

I would recommend you to take a look into 8base. It has features you've requested, also relation database and GraphQL API which will help you to develop rapidly.

Thanks, Ilya

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Decisions about Firebase and PubNub
Jack Heaton

The start-up guides, tutorials and documentation in general for Firebase are pretty outstanding.

There is 1GB database storage for the free tier as compared to Supabase's 500MB. Not that I think there is anything wrong with Supabase, I intend to try it out someday.

Also if you are doing any sort of personal front-end project, even using a free cluster from MongoDB can be a lot of work and setup, with Firebase (specifically Fire store and Google Authenticator) the implementation of BaaS is quite easy to get up and running.

It's pretty easy to understand the Fires store security rules as well, and if you ever have a hard time trying to figure something out, there is good community support and YouTube tutorials for most topics.

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Pros of Firebase
Pros of PubNub
  • 367
    Realtime backend made easy
  • 268
    Fast and responsive
  • 239
    Easy setup
  • 212
    Real-time
  • 188
    JSON
  • 132
    Free
  • 126
    Backed by google
  • 82
    Angular adaptor
  • 67
    Reliable
  • 35
    Great customer support
  • 30
    Great documentation
  • 25
    Real-time synchronization
  • 21
    Mobile friendly
  • 18
    Rapid prototyping
  • 14
    Great security
  • 12
    Automatic scaling
  • 11
    Freakingly awesome
  • 8
    Super fast development
  • 8
    Angularfire is an amazing addition!
  • 8
    Chat
  • 6
    Built in user auth/oauth
  • 6
    Firebase hosting
  • 6
    Ios adaptor
  • 6
    Awesome next-gen backend
  • 4
    Speed of light
  • 4
    Very easy to use
  • 3
    It's made development super fast
  • 3
    Great
  • 3
    Brilliant for startups
  • 2
    The concurrent updates create a great experience
  • 2
    Cloud functions
  • 2
    Free hosting
  • 2
    Push notification
  • 2
    Free authentication solution
  • 2
    JS Offline and Sync suport
  • 2
    Low battery consumption
  • 2
    I can quickly create static web apps with no backend
  • 2
    Great all-round functionality
  • 1
    Large
  • 1
    Easy to use
  • 1
    Free SSL
  • 1
    CDN & cache out of the box
  • 1
    Faster workflow
  • 1
    .net
  • 1
    Easy Reactjs integration
  • 1
    Google's support
  • 1
    Good Free Limits
  • 1
    Serverless
  • 36
    Massively scalable & easy to use
  • 25
    Easy setup
  • 20
    Reliable
  • 19
    Great support
  • 14
    Flexible to integrate to custom applications
  • 13
    High-Performance
  • 13
    Sockets at Scale
  • 13
    99.999% availability guarantees
  • 12
    High-Reliability
  • 12
    Multiplexing
  • 7
    Scalability
  • 5
    70+ SDKs
  • 5
    High-Availability
  • 4
    Security
  • 4
    Azure Add-on
  • 3
    Heroku Add-on
  • 3
    Easy to setup
  • 3
    Flexible
  • 3
    Presence
  • 2
    Analytics
  • 2
    Free Plan
  • 2
    Server-Side Cache
  • 2
    PhoneGap Plugin
  • 2
    AngularJS Adapter
  • 2
    Data Sync
  • 2
    Data Streams
  • 2
    Support
  • 1
    Easy setup and very reliable
  • 1
    High cost, going up more in Summer '15
  • 1
    Cool
  • 1
    Angular 2+ integration
  • 1
    Documentation, easy to use, great people/service
  • 1
    CTO stephen also is A++++++
  • 1
    Real time and easy to use.
  • 1
    Easy integration with iOS apps

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Cons of Firebase
Cons of PubNub
  • 31
    Can become expensive
  • 15
    Scalability is not infinite
  • 15
    No open source, you depend on external company
  • 9
    Not Flexible Enough
  • 6
    Cant filter queries
  • 3
    Very unstable server
  • 3
    No Relational Data
  • 2
    Too many errors
  • 2
    No offline sync
  • 1
    Costly

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

What is Firebase?

Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.

What is PubNub?

PubNub makes it easy for you to add real-time capabilities to your apps, without worrying about the infrastructure. Build apps that allow your users to engage in real-time across mobile, browser, desktop and server.

Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

Jobs that mention Firebase and PubNub as a desired skillset
CBRE
Malaysia Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur
CBRE
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland England London
What companies use Firebase?
What companies use PubNub?
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What are some alternatives to Firebase and PubNub?
MongoDB
MongoDB stores data in JSON-like documents that can vary in structure, offering a dynamic, flexible schema. MongoDB was also designed for high availability and scalability, with built-in replication and auto-sharding.
Parse
With Parse, you can add a scalable and powerful backend in minutes and launch a full-featured app in record time without ever worrying about server management. We offer push notifications, social integration, data storage, and the ability to add rich custom logic to your app’s backend with Cloud Code.
Heroku
Heroku is a cloud application platform – a new way of building and deploying web apps. Heroku lets app developers spend 100% of their time on their application code, not managing servers, deployment, ongoing operations, or scaling.
Auth0
A set of unified APIs and tools that instantly enables Single Sign On and user management to all your applications.
Realm
The Realm Mobile Platform is a next-generation data layer for applications. Realm is reactive, concurrent, and lightweight, allowing you to work with live, native objects.
See all alternatives